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13
Feb

Grab this Amazon Web Services Certification Training bundle for just $69!


When it comes to cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is near the top of the pile. It can be found in countless places around the web, and it’s comprised of multiple services from computing and storage to analytics. As AWS continues to grow, there is understandably an urgent need for trained professionals in the field.

Because AWS is comprised of so many different services, becoming proficient in the entire system can be pricey and time-consuming. Instead of finding the appropriate courses on your own, why not grab a bundle?

Right now, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on an Amazon Web Services Certification Training mega bundle that included eight certification courses with more than 50 hours of training. Instead of paying $1,299, you’ll instead pay just $69. That’s 94 percent off the regular price!

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The eight courses in this bundle include:

  • AWS Technical Essentials Certification Training
  • Introduction to Amazon S3 Training Course
  • Introduction to Amazon Route 53 Training
  • Introduction to Amazon EC2 Training Course
  • AWS Solution Architect Certification Training Course
  • Amazon VPC Training Course
  • AWS Lambda Training Course
  • AWS Database Migration Service Course

If you’re looking to prepare yourself for the AWS certification exams, this bundle of courses is what you need. At just $69, the price won’t get much better.

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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13
Feb

A handful of lovely games to enjoy this Valentine’s Day


Ease into the Valentine’s Day spirit with this collection of lovely games.

Valentine’s Day.

Love it or loathe it, when February 14 rolls around, red hearts seem to appear everywhere — even in the app store.

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First off, it’s kind of weird to see games like Temple Run 2 offering up cheesy Valentine’s Day skins. I don’t get that. I also don’t understand why there are so many apps when you search for “valentines” or “love” in the Play Store. It’s a sea of opportunistic apps all offering little to no actual value. It’s weird, isn’t it?

Whether you’ve got Valentine’s Day plans or not, take some time to unwind with these truly loving titles from the Android catalogue.

Heart Star

Heart Star is such a sweet little game it just might give you a cavity. It’s a cute platformer, seemingly coded out of cotton candy, that you won’t be able to put down.

You control the two characters who are in parallel worlds. Working together, you must solve the one-screen puzzles to get both sprites to the end goal platform. It’s really simple to play and the controls are tight, and yet it does get challenging as you progress.

Heart Star is an absolute delight to play, and it’s free!

Download: Heart Star (Free)

I Love Hue

Is this game on the list because it has love in the title? Maybe, but it’s also a really relaxing puzzle game that just so happens to also be in the running for the Google Play Indie Game Contest.

This is a very laid back puzzle game that has you re-arranging tiles to complete mosaics of satisfying color spectrums. It will test your perception while the calm music and easy gameplay will lull you into a trance.

It’s a great game for anyone who loves beautiful puzzle games, or for those moments when you need a tranquil break.

Download: I Love Hue (Free)

Old Man’s Journey

Truly one of the more inventive narrative-driven games I’ve played for Android, Old Man’s Journey is a touching game about life and love all told through the eyes of an old man who received a mysterious letter that set’s him off to an undisclosed location.

In this calming puzzle game, you control the landscape to create a path for the old man to progress. The graphics are amazing — every frame of this game looks as if it’s been hand painted right before your eyes. The soundtrack is equally engaging and changes as you progress through the game.

The story unfolds through vignettes of his memories, which start to reveal a life of adventure, love, and regret. It won’t take too long for even a casual gamer to complete Old Man’s Journey, and it’s something that should be experienced for yourself. This game is also a finalist in Google’s Indie Game Contest, so you know it’s top class!

Download: Old Man’s Journey ($4.99)

Death Road to Canada

I know what you’re thinking: how could a zombie game possibly be something to recommend for Valentine’s Day? Well hear me out.

The underlying story behind Death Road To Canada could be romantic if you give your characters a loving backstory. Heck, you could even create custom characters for you and your lover for the ultimate “ride or die” adventure! Maybe you could document the trip with screenshots of your character heroically saving your partner from a horde of zombies as if to say “Hey, I would fight off an army of the living dead for you!”

Plus, if you’ve got an Android TV box you can load the game up for some two-player fun on the big screen. And uhh… also… is there anything more romantic than Canada in February?

Basically, I’m never going to stop recommending this game. Go play it!

Download: Death Road to Canada ($9.99)

Take this! It’s dangerous to go alone!

Do you have a favorite lovey dovey Valentine’s Day game? Let us know in the comments below!

13
Feb

Hawaii legislators want to put age restrictions on loot crates


The video game industry is getting a wake up call over paid loot boxes. Last November, Belgium ruled that loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront II could be classified as gambling. Last month, a Washington Senator proposed a bill aimed at regulating the practice via the state’s gambling commission. Now Hawaii is looking to limit these types of game systems with a couple of bills proposed by state legislators, one of which restricts sales of these types of games to the over-21 crowd.

According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, there are two pairs of bills aimed at games like EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II. House Bill 2686 and Senate Bill 3024, seek to prohibit the sale of any games that include loot boxes that can be purchased with real money to anyone under 21 years of age. The second pair, House Bill 27272 and Senate Bill 3025, want game publishers to prominently label games that have randomized purchase systems and disclose the probability rates of specific loot box rewards.

“I grew up playing games my whole life,” State Representative Chris Lee told the Herald-Tribune. “I’ve watched firsthand the evolution of the industry from one that seeks to create new things to one that’s begun to exploit people, especially children, to maximize profit.”

Via: Polygon

Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald

13
Feb

Chris Rock’s first Netflix special debuts February 14th


Chris Rock signed a deal with Netflix in 2016, agreeing to two comedy specials for a reported sum of $40 million. Well the wait for Rock’s comedy special return is finally over as Netflix has announced that the first of those two specials will air on February 14th. Chris Rock: Tamborine is Rock’s first special since 2008’s Kill the Messenger and Variety reports that it will cover topics that span from relationships to race.

Tomorrow. Tamborine. @netflixisajoke pic.twitter.com/RPVhPv5mmq

— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) February 13, 2018

Over the last couple of years, Netflix has snagged quite a few high-profile comedians. Last year, the streaming service aired three Dave Chappelle specials, one from Patton Oswalt and the first of two Jerry Seinfeld specials. Ellen Degeneres also has a Netflix special in the works. In addition to big names, Netflix also got the rights to the Def Comedy Jam 25th anniversary special and will also start airing 15-minute stand-up specials featuring a number of newer names to the comedic scene.

Chris Rock: Tamborine was filmed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was directed by Bo Burnham.

Source: Netflix

13
Feb

Amazon’s cop drama ‘Bosch’ returns April 13th


Amazon’s longest-running TV show, Bosch, now has a premiere date for its fourth season: Friday, April 13th. The 10-episode season will address accusations of police brutality against the LAPD. When a civil rights attorney is murdered just before a case against the police department, Detective Harry Bosch is put in charge of a task force to find the truth, even if the responsibility lies with his fellow police officers. You can see a trailer for the fourth season below. The show has already been renewed for a fifth season.

According to Deadline, Executive Producer Eric Overmyer will be returning to the show for the fifth season. He developed the show for television and was the showrunner for the first three seasons before he left to manage Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. He will once again serve as showrunner on Bosch, which is based on the hit book series by Michael Connelly, along with Executive Producer Daniel Pyne, who ran the show’s fourth season.

Source: Deadline

13
Feb

ARM’s latest processors are designed for mobile AI


ARM isn’t content to offer processor designs that are kinda-sorta ready for AI. The company has unveiled Project Trillium, a combination of hardware and software ingredients designed explicitly to speed up AI-related technologies like machine learning and neural networks. The highlights, as usual, are the chips: ARM ML promises to be far more efficient for machine learning than a regular CPU or graphics chip, with two to four times the real-world throughput. ARM OD, meanwhile, is all about object detection. It can spot “virtually unlimited” subjects in real time at 1080p and 60 frames per second, and focuses on people in particular — on top of recognizing faces, it can detect facing, poses and gestures.

The software component, ARM NN, serves as a go-between for neural network frameworks like Google’s TensorFlow and ARM-based processors.

It’s going to be a while before you see this technology in action. ARM isn’t offering previews until April, with wider availability in the middle of 2018. And remember, ARM doesn’t actually design finished chips. It’s up to Qualcomm, Samsung and other companies to translate these formulas into real products. The aim, however, is clear: ARM wants more devices that can handle AI tasks locally, rather than depending on a cloud-based helper like Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. The company also expects Project Trillium to expand beyond mobile devices to include home theater, smart speakers and other categories where AI might come in handy.

Via: The Verge

Source: ARM

13
Feb

Attackers used Telegram to deliver cryptocurrency-mining malware


Kaspersky Lab says it spotted evidence of a vulnerability in the desktop version of Telegram that allowed attackers to install cryptocurrency mining malware on users’ computers. The zero-day exploit was used to trick Telegram users into downloading malicious files, which could then be used to deliver cryptocurrency mining software and spyware. According to Kaspersky, those behind the exploit used the computers their malware had been installed on to mine digital currencies like Monero, Zcash, Fantomcoin and others. Kaspersky also says it found a stolen cache of Telegram data on one of the attackers’ servers.

Telegram is a popular messaging service. And while its encryption has attracted users whose communications may be less than legal, its popularity has also attracted groups wanting to exploit its many users. Telegram was briefly pulled from Apple’s App Store earlier this month because users were sharing child pornography through it and it has remained a popular mode of communication for members of ISIS despite Telegram’s attempts to prevent it. Last month, Symantec discovered a fraudulent copy of Telegram on Google Play that served users ads as well as another that installed malware onto the systems of those who downloaded it.

Of course, sneaky cryptocurrency mining hijacks are nothing new. Attackers have targeted Android phones, government websites and Showtime’s streaming website, among many others. Kaspersky said it notified Telegram of the issue and it now appears to have been rectified. “The popularity of instant messenger services is incredibly high, and it’s extremely important that developers provide proper protection for their users so that they don’t become easy targets for criminals,” Kaspersky Malware Analyst Alexey Firsh said in a statement.

Via: Bloomberg

Source: Kaspersky

13
Feb

‘Assassin’s Creed Origins’ virtual tours can actually teach history


The Assassin’s Creed series is known for its vast and richly detailed historical environments, and well… lots of murder. What you might not realize is just how much work goes into making these virtual windows into the past somewhat realistic. That’s something Ubisoft is aiming to highlight with Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Discovery Tour. You can think of it as a museum-like experience set within the game’s meticulous rendition of ancient Egypt. The goal? To turn one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world into a truly useful educational tool.

As you’d expect, there’s plenty of helpful narration, historical photos and artwork in Discovery Tour. You also don’t have to worry about getting killed, so you’re free to explore as much as you want. The developers brought in Egyptologists to craft 75 guided tours, which cover things like the city of Alexandria, daily life of Egyptians, the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.

You can jump right in to tours from the game’s menu and map, and they usually involve following a golden path to various checkpoints. During a brief demo, I learned how Alexandria was founded, and why its location along the Nile delta was particularly strategic. I was surprised to discover a few things I didn’t come across in school, even though I spent a few years studying ancient history. I also encountered a few photos and diagrams I hadn’t seen before, showing modern excavations and illustrations of what the city might have looked like.

Discovery Tour lets you choose from several models in the game as your avatar. I enjoyed exploring Egypt as Cleopatra, but you can also choose from Julius Caesar, the main characters of the game and a host of side characters. It was strange seeing Assassin’s Creed Origins in another light, after spending dozens of hours in the game murdering scores of Roman soldiers, hunting Egyptian wildlife and serving as the sword for a deposed Cleopatra. But, it made me appreciate the game all the more.

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Ubisoft

Jean Guesdon, creative director of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Black Flag, tells Engadget that his team’s mission for the series is to “make history everyone’s playground.” They were inspired to make Discovery Tour after fans of the franchise pointed out that it actually helped them learn about major historical events. When it came time to start development of Origins, he pitched the mode as part of his vision for the overall game.

“Culturally at Ubisoft, this kind of initiative is well perceived,” Guesdon says. “Our CEO keeps telling us we need to enrich players’ lives. To go beyond the entertainment, and to try and bring them either knowledge or skills. Think about Rocksmith, the guitar game where you could actually learn to play. So yes, I had to convince some people [to make Discovery Tour], but it wasn’t that tough.”

Development for Discovery Tour took about six to seven months. But that also doesn’t include time Maxime Durand, the series’ historical researcher, spent chatting with educators to determine what they actually need. Having an educational mode in mind also influenced the way Ubisoft built out the game’s world, Guesdon says. There’s a village completely dedicated to pottery specifically because he knew there would be a lesson about that.

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Ubisoft

The tours point out how things like the developer’s rendering of the city of Alexandria, with its wide streets and grid structure, is rooted in historical research. Some of the lessons also show where Ubisoft’s more fantastical storytelling diverges from reality, like how they chose to include a secret tomb in the Sphinx, something that’s long been rumored among actual historians. While wandering around Egypt, you can also participate in what the locals are doing. If you stand next to a breadmaker, for example, your character goes through the entire process of preparing dough and baking tiny triangular loafs.

Owners of Origins will get the Discovery Tour for free on February 20th, but it’s also going to be available as a $20 standalone title. The latter option should be useful for schools and libraries, since it won’t include any of the violent parts of the full game. Still, the title Assassin’s Creed might be a turnoff for some educators. But Ubisoft has plenty of reasons to think it can help teach history, based on feedback from the series’ fans, as well as its own research.

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Ubisoft

In one study, they had half of a history class learn about ancient Egypt while playing the game, while the other half was taught a traditional lesson by their teacher. In the end, 55 percent of the students who went through the normal class passed a follow up quiz, while 42 percent passed it after playing Discovery Tour. Only 22 percent of the students passed a preliminary quiz, prior to those lessons.

Now that schools are leaning into the benefits of interactive learning, especially with titles like Minecraft, I wouldn’t be surprised if more gaming franchises started including educational experiences. Based on what I’ve seen from Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour, it’s an intriguing way to learn, even if it’s no replacement for a real teacher.

13
Feb

Facebook’s Lists are its latest attempt to encourage oversharing


Facebook’s latest attempt to get you to post more original content is a feature called Lists. It lets you post a customized list such as “My travel wishlist” or “Goals for the year” and the idea is your Facebook friends will then engage with post, adding suggestions or giving encouragement. You can further personalize your list with various background color options or by adding emojis and Facebook will also provide list suggestions, though you can make up your own as well. Additionally, if someone else’s list inspires you — or infuriates you — you can mimic theirs and add your own twist.

Facebook has been leaning into the idea of pushing personal and local content over national news. The company announced earlier this year that the site would begin to promote posts from friends, family and groups over those of businesses and media. It also said that it would start to prioritize local news stories in the News Feed and is testing a dedicated local news and events section in six cities across the country. Additionally, going along with its effort to encourage real engagement, Facebook has started to demote posts deemed “engagement bait.”

Facebook says Lists are rolling out to users now. However, while iOS users will be able to see others’ lists, only Android users will be able to create them for now. There’s no word yet on when the feature will come to iOS.

Via: CNET

13
Feb

Robots had their own skiing competition at the Winter Olympics


The Olympics aren’t just an event for the most talented athletes to strut their stuff on the world’s stage. No, The Games are where robots can find honest work and leisure, too. Some 85 robots (spread across 11 different models, humanoid and otherwise) have been serving drinks, cleaning floors, swimming around fish tanks, guiding lost visitors at the airport and even skiing according to regional publication Korea JoongAng Daily. “We applied three yardsticks in choosing the robots to use at The Games — how stable, new and useful they are going to be,” Park Hyun-Sub, of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology said.

The robot skiing competition was held yesterday at an event adjacent to the Olympic village. According to The Guardian, each bot had to meet a strict set of criteria to compete. Specifically, they had to be over 50cm tall, have independent power systems, be able to stand on two legs and have bendable knees and elbows. Oh, they need to use skis and poles, obviously.

OLYMPICS-2018-ALPS/ROBOTS

“Sensors enabled the robots to detect the position of flags on the course, which they had to steer themselves through,” the publication writes. “Points were awarded for the number of flagpoles avoided, and the fastest time to the finish line. Not that all of the robots reached it.” Sounds familiar.

For a glimpse at the action, check out the video below. Couldn’t make it to South Korea this year to see this in action for yourself? Japan says it’s going to double down on robots when it hosts the Olympics in 2020.

In-line image: Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Source: Korea JoongAng Daily, The Guardian

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